Lockheed Martin Keeping
F-22 Plant In Georgia
05/10/00 10:12:26 AM U.S. EDT
MARIETTA, Ga. (AP) — Lockheed Martin has decided against moving final assembly of the F-22 stealth fighter from Marietta to Fort Worth, Texas, preserving 1,000 jobs at the suburban Atlanta plant.
“During the last few months, we have reviewed results from previous studies of F-22 production plans, including options for moving final assembly,” Marietta plant chief Tom Burbage said in a memo Tuesday to Marietta workers.
Burbage said “financial implications” of the studies did not support such a plan. “Therefore, there are no plans to move F-22 final assembly from our facility in Marietta,” he said.
In February, the Bethesda, Md.-based company announced 2,800 layoffs, 2 percent of its work force of 140,000, which it said would generate $200 million in annual savings. Lockheed Martin said the majority of the savings would be achieved in the Aeronautical Systems business, which would be consolidated into a single unit to be called Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., headquartered in Fort Worth.
The 2,500 job cuts in the aeronautics division would come in approximately equal measure from the company's three primary sites in Georgia, California and Texas, the company said. The Fort Worth plant already makes mid-fuselage sections of the F-22.
In Washington, program manager Robert Rearden said Lockheed would switch assembly to Fort Worth only if the Air Force ordered and paid for such a move. Rearden said the costs of moving final assembly from Marietta “are such that it really doesn't make sense.”
Workers and union leaders in Fort Worth, coming off a strike, had hoped that Lockheed would consolidate the F-22 work there, which would compensate for declining production of the F-16 fighter. The prospect concerned the Machinists union in Marietta and Georgia members of Congress. Both have helped Lockheed Martin protest the F-22 program in Congress.
Funding for the jet in the fiscal 2001 budget cleared an initial hearing Tuesday as the Senate Armed Services Committee approved the Air Force's request for an initial production of 10 planes.